Derek Koivisto scored the winner for Dryden six minutes into the third period, ending a streak that dated back to Nov. 17.
OLIVER PAIPOONGE – After 17 consecutive victories, over a span of 96 days, the Kam River Fighting Walleye`s winning streak is at an end.
The Fighting Walleye on Monday fell one game short of tying the Superior International Junior Hockey League known record of 18 straight wins posted by the Thief River Falls Norskies to start the 2017-18 campaign and suffered their first loss on home ice this season, having won 16 straight at the Norwest Arena to open the 2021-22 schedule.
Derek Koivisto was the hero for the visiting Dryden Ice Dogs, scoring the game-winning goal six minutes into the third period, giving his team its third separate lead in the matinee contest, played in front of a capacity crowd at the Oliver Paipoonge rink.
Assistant captain Maxime Collette, who picked up a goal, with two Fighting Walleye in the box, and assist to climb within a point of the league’s point-scoring lead,
It’s always a battle when the Ice Dogs and Fighting Walleye meet.
“It’s been a tough series with these guys. We’ve played them a lot. There have been a lot of one-goal games, so it feels good to come out on top this time.”
The Ice Dogs (19-2-1) Ondrej Bardos opened the scoring in the first two minutes of play for the second straight game and the visitors jumped in front 2-0 with 5:18 to play in the first, Collette potting his 31st of the season, nestling the puck past Kam River goaltender Austin Madge.
Kam River fought back with a pair in the second, Ethan Lang scoring with two Ice Dogs in the box at 6:44 and Mackenzie Sedgwick tying things up at the 17:17 mark. But the Fighting Walleye were on even ice for less than a minute when Nakoda Thunderchief snuck the puck past Madge on a sharp-angle shot, released inches from the goal line.
Sensing their streak was on the line, coming off a shootout win on Sunday night, the Fighting Walleye kept pressing, finally rewarded when captain Zach Fortin squeezed the rubber past Dryden goaltender Eric Clark, burying a rebound after a flurry of Kam River chances deep in the Ice Dogs zone.
But once again the Ice Dogs had the answer, Koivisto scoring his 12th of the season, the goal proving to be the difference in a game that saw 92 shots combined between the two teams, Clark stopping 41 of 44 to pick up the win.
Kam River coach Matt Valley said the loss was almost a relief for his team.
“I think some guys got a reality check that they can’t just show up and play the way you want to play,” Valley said. “We had a lot of selfish guys today, taking some penalties for the name on the back of the jersey, which doesn’t really get you much. I do think we showed a ton of character.
“We had a hell of a second period and the third too. We just fell asleep at the wrong time and they capitalized. They’re a good team.”
Things don’t get any easier for Kam River, who will host the Red Lake Miners, winners of 12 in a row, on Friday and Saturday night. Red Lake’s last loss came on Nov. 20, three days after Kam River’s previous loss prior to Sunday. The Miners are nine points back from the Fighting Walleye, with five games in hand.
Scoring: 1. Dryden, Bards 13 (Collette) 1:41. 2. Dryden, Collette 31 (Bardos, Bull) 14:42 pp. penalties: Lee DRY (tripping) 6:25, Fortin KFW (interference) 12:56, Takats DRY (roughing), Veneruzzo DRY (roughing double minor, served by Duchesne) 14:26.
Scoring: 3. Kam River, Lang 16 (Woodcroft, Fortin) 6:44, 4. Kam River, Sedgwick 4 (Woodcroft, Wiseman) 17:17. 5. Dryden, Thunderchief 5 (Frattinger) 17:58. penalties: Takats DRY (cross checking) 5:21, Bench Minor DRY (served by Lee) 5:54, Gallaher (holding the stick, misconduct) 8:58, Benfield DRY (head contact, misconduct), Bench minor DRY (served by Goodman) 18:23.
Scoring: 6. Kam River, Fort 6 (Dunmore, Duchesne) 1:19. 2. Dryden, Koivisto 12 (Bardos, Gagnon) 5:54. penalties: Whiteduck DRY (hooking) 2:27, Ware DRY (unsportsmanlike conduct), Goodman KFW (roughing) 10:16, McNeil KFW (unsportsmanlike conduct) 11:10.
GAME DATA – SOG – Dryden 11-17-20-48, Kam River 11-19-14-44; Power plays (goals-chances) – Dryden (1-4), Kam River (1-3); goaltenders – Dryden: Eric Clark, Kam River: Austin Madge; TO: 275.